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mgman

Is Kalamazoo too far for commuter rail?

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I should probably post this on a more transit oriented forum before here but I am bored so here it goes. If either you do not care or have no comment, just pass it by. I do not care if this thread dies. But if you like talking about commuter rails, why not in SW Michigan. There are at least two commuter rail lines in talks within the State that I know of, WALLY and AA-Detroit, with a lot of talk about commuter rail between Holland/Muskegon and GR. Being from the Southwest part of the State got me thinking, why not us? Here are my ramblings.

A Kalamazoo commuter train to Chicago:

1. Kalamazoo is not that much smaller than Ann Arbor

2. Chicago is the largest and most prosperous city in the Midwest

3. Kalamazoo already has the second most people using rail in the State

Taking these into account, you could have a line that would start at Kalamazoo stopping at Dowagiac, Niles and New Buffalo. This stretch of track is currently the only high speed track outside of the NEC and completely owned by Amtrak. That means only 8 trains a day go through there and no freight trains. I feel that this stretch of tracks is currently being under utilized. Also, I know that this spring, Amtrak trains were rerouted onto the South Shore tracks. If it could be worked out with NICTD, the commuter line could utilize these tracks from Michigan City to Randolph St. Station meaning that the vast majority of the trip would be on track solely devoted to passenger travel thereby reducing delays caused by freight trains.

It is about 86 miles to Michigan City and currently the Amtrak trains are scheduled to make the trip in 1:18 for an average speed of around 69 mph. Not too shabby. The South Shore is 55 miles away from Millennium station and takes about 1:40 minutes on the NICTD schedule for an average speed of 33 mph. This is little longer than the Amtrak schedule but it means that there would be no freight trains on the route. I have been on an Amtrak train that took an hour and a half to go from Hammond to Union Station.

That means that the trip from Kalamazoo to Chicago would take just under three hours to make. Is this too long for a commuter train? Amtrak averages 357 people per day on this route. Could this number grow into a more stable passenger base? Or maybe just run a high speed commuter line between Niles and Kalamazoo?

The Kensington cross over is a major hassle but if the Michigan trains were used the same as an NICTD train between Michigan City and Chicago, there would be no new trains going into Chicago. This would of course mean that there would need to be an immense amount of cooperation between several agencies from three different States.

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I should probably post this on a more transit oriented forum before here but I am bored so here it goes. If either you do not care or have no comment, just pass it by. I do not care if this thread dies. But if you like talking about commuter rails, why not in SW Michigan. There are at least two commuter rail lines in talks within the State that I know of, WALLY and AA-Detroit, with a lot of talk about commuter rail between Holland/Muskegon and GR. Being from the Southwest part of the State got me thinking, why not us? Here are my ramblings.

A Kalamazoo commuter train to Chicago:

1. Kalamazoo is not that much smaller than Ann Arbor

2. Chicago is the largest and most prosperous city in the Midwest

3. Kalamazoo already has the second most people using rail in the State

Taking these into account, you could have a line that would start at Kalamazoo stopping at Dowagiac, Niles and New Buffalo. This stretch of track is currently the only high speed track outside of the NEC and completely owned by Amtrak. That means only 8 trains a day go through there and no freight trains. I feel that this stretch of tracks is currently being under utilized. Also, I know that this spring, Amtrak trains were rerouted onto the South Shore tracks. If it could be worked out with NICTD, the commuter line could utilize these tracks from Michigan City to Randolph St. Station meaning that the vast majority of the trip would be on track solely devoted to passenger travel thereby reducing delays caused by freight trains.

It is about 86 miles to Michigan City and currently the Amtrak trains are scheduled to make the trip in 1:18 for an average speed of around 69 mph. Not too shabby. The South Shore is 55 miles away from Millennium station and takes about 1:40 minutes on the NICTD schedule for an average speed of 33 mph. This is little longer than the Amtrak schedule but it means that there would be no freight trains on the route. I have been on an Amtrak train that took an hour and a half to go from Hammond to Union Station.

That means that the trip from Kalamazoo to Chicago would take just under three hours to make. Is this too long for a commuter train? Amtrak averages 357 people per day on this route. Could this number grow into a more stable passenger base? Or maybe just run a high speed commuter line between Niles and Kalamazoo?

The Kensington cross over is a major hassle but if the Michigan trains were used the same as an NICTD train between Michigan City and Chicago, there would be no new trains going into Chicago. This would of course mean that there would need to be an immense amount of cooperation between several agencies from three different States.

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